Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has challenged those who claimed he would die to mention the date if they are truly prophets.
The Governor who was peaking on the proposed religious preaching bill, face-off with trade unions, among others said, “I have not seen anyone talking about Islam actually. Most of the people that say I would die, as if I would not die, are people who call themselves Christian clergy.
“Of course, I will die. If that apostle is truly an apostle, he should mention the day I will die. There is nothing in that law that prevents or infringes the practice of religion. It seeks to ensure that those that preach religion are qualified, trained and certified by their peers to do it.
“And some sections of the media have made it as if the law was drafted against Christianity. It is most irresponsible and I have nothing to say except to leave the matter to God.
“It was the report of two or three of these that compelled us in the security council to ask the question, whether or not there was a law that regulates preaching. Then we were told there was a law; since 1984 after the Maitasine problems, the administration passed the law.
“It was subsequently amended several times to increase the fine and the imprisonment term. This is a living problem and we know it. Christian priests, the ones I know, go to seminary and spend so many years there, study under a more experienced Reverend to learn what to say and what not to say.
“Religious leaders don’t preach hatred; they preach peace, tolerance and love. But today in my religion of Islam, anybody can wake up and start a sect; there is no control. In those days, from Islamiyya School, if you chose that line, you needed to study more books.
“After that, you would go to the East (Borno area) for more studies and training. Then from there, you would go to a mosque and begin to call people to prayer before you become an imam in any mosque. Before you became an imam of a Friday mosque, the community must agree that you were well learned and competent. But now, everyone can build a mosque, put up loudspeakers, call himself an imam and start disturbing people at night.
“A priest that has gone through thorough teachings and training would not go and ask people to cause trouble and kill each other. They are trained men of God. In Christendom today, we all know that some people would drink something overnight and wake up the next day and claim they are apostles, that God had spoken to them.
“You could not disproof that because you were not there with him and he would start to collect followers. When he begins to preach hatred, what can you do? Is it the society we want? This is the question. The logic behind this law is to strengthen the 1984 laws so as to regulate and ensure that those that are given the opportunity to preach at least know what they are doing, they have a level of responsibility to develop the society rather than divide it. This is our goal; we don’t have anything against any religion or anybody”.